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Hast thou, O my soul, escaped the dangerous Trials, the vain Pursuits, the vexations and uncertain. ties of a mortal and suffering Life? Hast thou now gained a refuge from the storin, a place of everlasting rest? Hast thou obtained heavenly Peace and endless Pleasure? Hast thou acquired a Kingdom and Dominion and a Crown of Life? Art thou clothed with the white Robes of heavenly Righteousness? Art thou, that once hadst fallen so low, now advanced to Glory, honour and Immortality, amidst the Angels of Heaven? Does God, the living God, with love unutterable, now smile upon thee? Has He called thee his Child, and spoken eternal Peace, saying, “ well done good " and faithful servant, enter thou into the Joy of thy “ Lord?” And is this state of happiness secure forever? Shall the love between thee and thy God never decay, but grow and spread and increase; and, when millions of ages are past away, be still new and increase forever?---Surely thou hast made a happy choice, O my soul, to have preferred this weight of glory to all the vanities of a sinful and transitory life! Glory therefore be to thee, O Father, blessed Saviour and holy Spirit, for enabling me to make this happy choice!
We have, at length, by the help of Divine Revelation, arrived at the main object of our Searches; the source of Comfort, under whatever may befall us, sojourners through Time, and as candidates for Eternity.
In treating of the awful mysteries, through which our text has led us, and especially what relates to future events, and the changes and revolutions in the destiny of man, which are yet to come, we may have
erred in part; (and we can never be secure against Error, in attempting the explanation of those mysteries which Providence has been pleased to open to us, as yet only in part; and which will never be fully understood, till unveiled to us by the light, to which we shall be admitted in the world to come.
“ In the mean time, let us faithfully, and with “good conscience, according to our best understand“ing, strive to retain the form of sound words and “ doctrine, concerning the immortality of the soul; “ the resurrection of the dead, a judgment to come, " the rewards and punishments of a future life, over “ which Christ's Throne will be established in righ“ teousness, and his kingdom and dominion be forever."
The Christian Religion has no fruits more precious than those which sweeten our cup of affliction in Life, exhilarate us to combat Death, and assure our hopes of a better world. Natural Religion, and all the other religions which have been professed among men, could go but a short way even in teaching them how to live; but in teaching them how to die, there remained a dismal and dreadful blank. Before the Christian Revelation, Death was only a leap into the dark, a wrench from the precincts of Day, at which the astonished Soul, shuddered and recoiled. But now the Gospel lifts our eye to immortal scenes. It unlocks Eternity before us. It shews us a reconciled God, and Jesus the Mediator seated on his right hand. It teaches, that through his merits, the Just shall live forever, passing from one degree of glory to another, and entering still more deeply into the
beatific vision and enjoyment of God the Father, as their faculties are more and more enlarged and expanded.
Under the Power and Efficacy of this Religion, the feeblest among true Christians will excel in Courage and Philosophy even the boasted Socrates! When all around him is Mourning and Weeping, and Sorrow and Wringing of Hands, the dying Christian, on whom Heaven and Glory begin to shine, will be superlatively raised above all Mortal Weakness, and will comfort even his comforters!
With these Reflections, and on this Subject of Comfort in Death, I conclude with a grand description of the great and pious Dr. Young--
“ As some tall Tower, or lofty Mountain's Brow,
And now, O blessed God! Father, Son and Holy Ghost, guide and assist us in our Preparations for this Celestial Bliss; and be our Rock and Salvation through all the Scenes we have to pass towards its attainment. Amen!
year of his
THE respectable man, at whose Funeral this Sermon was preached, died September 4, 1772, having passed the 80th
age. He was of a very ancient family, the GREME's of Bulgowan, where he was born, near Perth, in Scotland, the eldest branch of the noble family of Montrose. He was educated in the line of Physic, and came early into Pennsylvania, during the government of Sir William Keith, whose relation he married, and continued for many years a successful and highly respected Practitioner, in the line of his profession.
I was acquainted with him almost 20 years; that is from the first day of my coming to Philadelphia, until the day of his Death; and by a standing invitation spent every Sunday evening with him and his family, excepting in the Summer season, when they were at Græme-Park, his family seat, about 23 miles from Philadelphia.
At our meetings in the Winter season, I found him generally with five or six friends, besides the family, of co-genial sentiments, and among others, the Rev. Dr. Peters, Rector of Christ Church and St. Peters, Philadelphia. As he advanced in years, a deafness to which he had been in part subject for many years, increased so much that it induced him to decline the practice of Physic, and to keep only a few medicines to be given gratis, to such poor as he thought wanted them, after examining their cases and circumstances. His understanding and mental faculties still remaining sound; the Hon. Penn family, with which he lived in great intimacy, when any of them visited or governed the [then] Province, bestowed upon him a lucrative office in the customs, wherein he conducted himself with such integrity as gave great satisfaction to the mercantile interest, without any sacrifice of his duty to the 0vernment. Of his family I shall give a short account, in the Appendix to this volume.